UPDATE Nov 24th 2010: Checkword 1.4 is in now the Apple approval queue, and will fix the problem with no keyboard, as well as adding a “Words With Friends” specific word list, and using less memory thanks to better list compression. Hopefully should be getting out in a few days. Sorry I did not test it before iOS4.2 was released. My bad!

CheckWord is an iPhone/iPod Touch application that checks if a word is good or bad in games like Scrabble. Quicker than using a dictionary, easier than using a computer. Ideal for for both casual and tournament use. Now with an added word generator and wild-card pattern matcher.


– Uses the latest official TWL or SOWPODS word lists
– TWL 2006, with 178,691 words for North America
– SOWPODS 2006, with 267,751 words for international play
– No internet connection needed, so you can be in airplane mode
– Instant results, just type in the word and hit the search button
– Judge multiple words at once, according to tournament rules.
– Generate words from your letters and a board letters
– Solve crosswords by entering in the known letters
– Make anagrams, find words and make word lists with wildcard searches


The main purpose of CheckWord is to see if words are good or bad for play in Scrabble and other similar games. Because of this it does not include proper nouns (names and other words that are normally capitalized), such as “MICHAEL” or “ARIZONA”. However, some proper nouns have other uses, such as “HOLLY” (a tree), and “TEXAS” (a part of a steamboat), and so are included. I did not make the word lists, they are official lists created by various Scrabble associations.

To check a word, type it in and touch “Search”. You will be told if the word is “Good” or “Bad” to play in Scrabble.

To clear the display, just touch “Search” again.

In the options, you can select “Use ‘Acceptable'” to change the messages to “Acceptable” and “Unacceptable”, as this is the language used in official Scrabble tournaments.

If you enter multiple words from a single play, like “AT AA TAN”, then CheckWord will report GOOD or ACCEPTABLE only if all the words are correct. If one or more words are incorrect, then CheckWord will report BAD or UNACCEPTABLE. The incorrect word will not be highlighted, according to official Scrabble tournament rules.


To toggle to MakeWord, touch the “MakeWord” button in the top left. Use the same button to return to CheckWord. In both CheckWord and MakeWord you can press the ‘i’ in the top right to go to the options and info screen.

You can enter the “Letters” in your rack and/or a “Pattern” to fit those letters to. Use the ‘.’ for a blank tile or empty space, and use ‘@’ to represent an unknown number of letters in the pattern (see below for examples).

Letters Only:
If you only enter Letters, then MakeWord will make all the possible words it can make with those letters (and blanks, if you enter any). Longest words will be shown first, including any full-length anagrams.

Letters Only Examples:
RETAINS = All words you can make with the letters of RETAINS (there are 262 in TWL, 343 in SOWPODS)
RETAI.. = All the words you can make with RETAI and two blanks
… = All the three and two letter words

Pattern Only:
If you only enter a pattern, then MakeWord will assume you have enough blanks to make any word that fits that pattern. You would use this to find words that fit a particular pattern of letters, such as in a crossword. You can also make quick word lists for practice. It’s very powerful, but easy to do the simple stuff.

Pattern Examples:
.. = All the two letter words
… = All the three letter words
P..TZ.L = Word with some letters missing (PRETZEL)
THW@ = All words starting with THW
@PS = All words ending in PS
@THP@ = All words that contain THP
THP = Shortcut for @THP@
@.THP.@ = All words that contain THP, but do not start or end with it
PR@NT = All words that start with PR and end with NT
PR…NT = All seven letter words that start with PR and end with NT
JO.. = All four letter words that starts with JO

Letters and Pattern:
If you both letters and pattern, then MakeWord will generate words that fit the pattern using just the letters and blanks you specify. You would use this to fit your rack to a specific place on the board, or to generate more specific word lists.

Letters and Pattern Examples:
RETAINS + @AB@ = All words fitting some letters from RETAINS before, after or around AB
RETAINS + AB = Shortcut for the above
RETAINS + @AB = All words fitting letters from RETAINS before AB
RETAINS + AB@ = All words fitting RETAINS after AB
RETAINS + @.AB.@ = All words fitting RETAINS around AB
RETAINS + …. = All four letter words made from RETAINS
Q… + …. = All four letter words containing a Q (A ‘Q’ with three blanks, fitted into four spaces)
AAA.. + ….. = Five letter words with 3 ‘A’s
NOOMTRS + A…….Y = A nine letter word with your rack between A and Y (ASTRONOMY)
A… + G…. = A five letter word starting with G that contains an A

If you have any problems with CheckWord, then post a comment here, or email me at: mick@cowboyprogramming.com

If you have a problem or suggestion, then a great way to letting me know what the issue is is to take a screenshot by pressing the home and power buttons together. The screen will flash white, and a screenshot will be saved in your photo roll. Then email it to me at:
mick@cowboyprogramming.com with a note explaining the problem/suggestion.

Possible future features:

  • French, Spanish and other language support.

I’m interested in supporting other language, but I need to find appropriate word lists, and possibly some help translating “Enter word(s), good/bad, acceptable/unacceptable”.  Let me know if you can help.


Q: How do I clear the display?
A: Just press search again.

Q: How do I restrict the length of words in MakeWords?
Enter a patter with the same number of dots as the length of word you want.  Add a ‘@’ to make that the minimum length.